The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 9, 2014

PSU asked to nominate three for group on social media issue

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University has been asked to nominate three people for a work group that will begin meeting this month to make recommendations to the Kansas Board of Regents about its recently approved social media policy.

Of the three, Andy Tompkins, CEO of the Board of Regents, will choose two to be on the work group.

The policy, which the regents passed on Dec. 18, gives university chief executive officers license to discipline employees, up to termination, for “improper use of social media.”

State and national reaction to the policy — including outrage expressed by university faculty and staff members from across Kansas, and by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Kansas — prompted the regents to set up a statewide group to study the policy and recommend possible changes.

PSU President Steve Scott and Provost Lynette Olson called a meeting of faculty and staff representatives this week in which Scott said he intended to act as he has in the past and that they need not be fearful, according to a release issued by the university.

The group included leaders of the faculty senate, the KNEA bargaining unit, the unclassified staff senate and the classified staff.

“The new policy authorizes me to do something,” Scott said. “It puts the burden on me, and I think I have a pretty good track record. I want to reassure faculty and staff about my intention to continue to act as I have in the past. They shouldn’t think that a new era has arrived on campus.”

Each campus will have two representatives on the work group, Scott said, with one a member of the faculty and one representing either unclassified or classified staff.

Scott said he expects the work group to start meeting by the end of January in order to make recommendations in time for the April meeting of the Board of Regents.

“There will be a lot of eyes on the Board of Regents across the nation on this issue,” Scott said.

Definition

SOCIAL MEDIA, for the purposes of the policy, was defined as including but not being limited to blogs, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

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